Pope closes synod warning against closed hearts

In his closing address to the synod of bishops meeting about the family, Pope Francis said the gathering has been about overcoming closed hearts.

Pope Francis said that the synod was not about settling all the issues to do with the family, but rather to see them in the light of the Gospel.

He said the Gospel is always a vital source of newness for the Church.

This newness of the Gospel is “against all those who would ‘indoctrinate’ it in dead stones to be hurled at others”.

“It was also about laying closed hearts, which bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.

“It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints . . . .”

The first thing the synod was about, the Pope said, was “urging everyone to appreciate the importance of the institution of the family and of marriage between a man and a woman, based on unity and indissolubility, and valuing it as the fundamental basis of society and human life”.

Pope Francis added that “the synod experience also made us better realise that the true defenders of doctrine are not those who uphold its letter, but its spirit; not ideas but people; not formulae but the gratuitousness of God’s love and forgiveness”.

“This is in no way to detract from the importance of formulae, laws and divine commandments,” the Pope noted.

“But rather to exalt the greatness of the true God, who does not treat us according to our merits or even according to our works but solely according to the boundless generosity of his mercy.”

Preaching at the final Mass of the synod the next day, the Pope warned against a temptation to practice a “spirituality of illusion” that ignores people’s struggles or sees things only as we wish them to be.


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